Oregon Cattlemen Posts Opposition to Coast Pollution Program

Nonpoint EPA/NOAA effort riles state's ranchers.

Published on: Jan 10, 2014

The Oregon Cattlemen's Association disagrees with the findings of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program: Intent to Find that Oregon has Failed to Submit an Approvable Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program report.

Responding to the Dec. 20, 2013 notice by NOAA and EPA, Bill Moore – OCA water resources chairman – said "Our region's strong land use and environmental laws adequately regulate nonpoint source activities to effectively protect the environment, and relevant monitoring indicates those laws are working."

The federal agencies are demanding more without a sound, current scientific basis for doing so, he charges.

Oregon cattlemen are filing objections to a new U.S. EPA/NOAA proposals for coastal nonpoint pollution control.
Oregon cattlemen are filing objections to a new U.S. EPA/NOAA proposals for coastal nonpoint pollution control.

"The shame in all of this is they are threatening to withhold grant funds used for important projects across the state designed to curb nonpoint source contribution," adds Moore.

Oregon's Department of Environmental Quality also concluded that Oregon's plan "meets the intent of the three Coastal Zone Act Reauthorization Amendments management strategies in a manner that is appropriately customized to  Oregon's unique circumstances," he notes

In 1990, Congress established the Coastal Nonpoint Pollution Control Program to encourage better coordination between state coastal zone managers and water quality experts to reduce polluted runoff in the coastal zone.

Despite Oregon's strong environmental laws, NOAA and the U.S. EPA have announced that they intend to disapprove Oregon's program and withhold important federal grant funding, claims Moore.

He says that the disapproval is driven by a 2012 settlement agreement made without ag  or other natural resource partners at the table. Oregon is now being expected to comply with litigation form this settlement agreement rather that basing important management decisions on sound science and what is in the best interests of Oregonians, he explains.

OCA officials say the organization promotes environmental practices "grounded in research."

The association is submitting comments in  response to concerns that federal agencies have raised on this issue.